Board and Care(less)

When it comes to housing the mentally disabled, is better-than-nothing good enough?

Ligon just wishes she had found this place sooner. It would have spared Darrell and her whole family a lot of grief. "We've got to change something so these people aren't exploited like this anymore," she says.

A doctor releases a mental patient from treatment and says it's up to the social worker at the hospital to place the patient. The patient should have his medicine monitored but is sent to a place that is not allowed by law to give out medication. The patient has all his possessions stolen, ends up in a drug treatment study for a condition he doesn't have, then out on the streets alone again in charge of $900, which he wastes.

The experts acknowledge that some of the board-and-cares are dismal but say they are better than nothing. The mentally ill don't seem to agree. No one likes the options. There are caretakers who may mean well but don't do well. There are others who don't care for anything but the money. Most of us console ourselves by not seeing these people, letting them operate without interruption, rationalizing what they do.

Darrell Jones was an easy target for people looking to make money off the mentally ill.
Deron Neblett
Darrell Jones was an easy target for people looking to make money off the mentally ill.

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It is a deal with the devil. We are saving our money and turning away from people who need protection. It is all a deal with the devil.

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